About

We exist to help you get outdoors more often.  Period.  

Home of stories, video and gear reviews centered around families in the outdoors. Stories of travel and adventure, small victories and major drama, and the gear needed to make happy campers out of us all.  

Told from a Dad's perspective. He is often the ring leader, demonstrating irrational exuberance and optimism that its all going work out.  What could possibly go wrong?

This community welcomes input from all. Join the tribe for inspiration, comedy, and insights to unlock the magic of the outdoors for the entire gaggle.

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A little about me...

DadSherpa was created by me, Ben McKinley.  I'm a native Oregonian, living in Portland with my wife and 2 daughters, 9 and 5 (as of 2015).  I was lucky to have been raised by my parents with a close connection to the outdoors and strive to offer the same to my children.  

While I'm obsessed with many outdoor pursuits (backcountry skiing, mountain biking, trail running, road cycling, mountaineering, backpacking, hiking, SUP, surfski, etc) nothing consumes me more than skiing.  Through ski racing, I became part of an incredible community that shared this love of sliding on snow.  From elementary school through high school, I spent every weekend ripping around Mt. Ashland with the same crew.  Clay, Trevor, Tyler and Erik were the constants thanks to our dedicated band of carpooling parents.  Every weekend, every winter.  Man, were they happy when we got our drivers' licences.

In college I beefed up to 265 in pursuit of gridiron glory at Lewis and Clark College in Portland, OR.  While we often didn't enjoy the success we'd hoped for, we still celebrated as though we had.  

I coached highschool ski racing for 11 yrs, starting my sophomore year in college.  Once our own kids came along, I stepped aside from the high school coaching to make more time for family.  I couldn't stay away from ski coaching, though.  Over the last 8 yrs I've coached and raced with a group of dedicated mastergaters and more recently, as freeride coach for the MAC Ski Team.  
 
I also serve on the boards of the Bicycle Transportation Alliance and Greater Portland, Inc.  Two vastly different missions working to make Portland an even better place to call home.  

Professionally, I operate a web strategy, design and development shop named cascade web development.  We work with a number of outdoor brands to help them better speak to and sell to their target audiences.  I co-founded another company, Brandlive, which delivers live video training and ecommerce to many of the biggest brands and retailers in the world.  

I started this community because I want to share my experiences in life where 10 lbs of awesome gets stuffed into a 5 lb bag every damn day.  So many worthy priorities and so little time.  Always a variety of expectations to manage!  Life used to be so simple prior to kids.  Settling into this new normal is no easy transition.  The failures can come in massive waves and the victories feel few and far between.  Kids grow and evolve so fast.  Always a new challenge and so much rapid change.  Taken as a whole, I wouldnt have it any other way.  

Still reading?  Wow.  You've got endurance. 

Finally a bit about my review of gear.  

I'm a tall, powerful guy at 6'5", 210 lbs.  I have a size 15 foot.  That all worked to my advantage in football, but that's about it.  

I'm hard on equipment. Always have been.  I appreciate high end, light equipment but not if it fails when you need it most.  Ultimately, I need gear that's going to make it easier for me and my family to get outdoors as often as possible.  We all come at gear from different places.  Hope this detail helps provide context for any reviews I share.  

Come along for the ride... like, comment, share, and contribute.  I'd love to hear from you.  Life can be hectic, but we signed up for it, right!  Giddyup.